Green Tyranny

“Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex,” by Rupert Darwall. Encounter Books, 2017. 352 pages, $25.99.

“Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex” by Rupert Darwall is certain to raise the ire of the true believers of the climatology cult. Darwall is a British policy analyst and the author of “The Age of Global Warming: A History,” published in 2013 and critical of policies and initiatives aimed at fighting climate change. Green Tyranny is intended to complement his previous book, and in this one, Darwall offers a withering indictment of the Climate Industrial Complex, a term he has coined to equate climate change activists to last century’s Military Industrial Complex and the warnings of its acquisition of unwarranted power and influence over American society.

The subtitle reveals his belief in the totalitarian practices of the green movement. The main premise of the book is this: climate science is not “settled” because it is unscientific in its premise, modeling and predictions, totalitarian in its application, and aided and abetted by media bias.

Darwall begins this book by reviewing the antecedents of global warming, recounting the earlier scares about acid rain and nuclear winter. Acid rain was a major worry in some quarters in the 1980s. Pollution from power plants was said to be killing trees, especially in Canada, the United States and northern Europe. The drumbeat intensified despite noticeable increases in forest productivity, and eventually concerns about the problem faded away when mounting scientific evidence turned against it. Fears of a nuclear winter followed a similar trajectory.

The author initially focuses his attention on continental Europe, where the green movement originated, particularly in Sweden and Germany. He argues that the environmental policies of the greens have been a disaster and should not be emulated elsewhere. Darwall warns that well-meaning environmentalists in America seek the same failed remedies for this country. He claims Sweden is the ideal showcase of a Western country, where the government significantly managed to shape and manipulate public opinion about environmentalism and stifle debate over public policy. Darwall also profiles Germany and its “Energiewende,” the effort begun in 1998 to decarbonize the economy, where the price tag for German consumers to transition to renewable energy was promised to cost virtually nothing, but in fact resulted in billions of dollars in government spending and ever-rising electricity costs. The end result: Germany’s carbon emissions remain basically the same as they were in 1998, and Germans pay almost three times the cost of a kilowatt-hour than do Americans.

While Darwall’s book is not academic literature, it comes with almost 50 pages of endnotes providing readers more detailed source material if interested. This book does not delve into the scientific evidence from either side; it is not about science, it is about politics. He presents a wealth of details understandable to the general reader to explain how a powerful Green/Left network managed to occupy key political and nongovernmental (NGO) positions in Europe that gave them unquestioned authority in the United Nations and European Union over the subject of environmental change.

Decades ago when some environmentalists began to warn of the catastrophic impacts of rising levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, there soon arose a climate-industry complex of academics, government officials, NGOs and for-profit businesses determined to convince others that global warning was a critical crisis in need of massive resources. Unlike the acid rain panic, Darwall maintains that this concern isn’t about to fade away because it has an advantage over previous scares: “environmental scares relying on the present tense run the risk of present-tense falsification. Scientists claimed trees were being damaged and forests would die. The evidence showed that they weren’t. By contrast, evidence of damage caused by predicted catastrophic global warming is, by its very nature, speculative ... Global warming’s predictive elasticity and its avoidance of an empirical falsifiability test give it more staying power than acid rain.”

Darwall warns that for many green activists, the climate crisis serves not a scientific purpose but a political purpose. The general anti-freedom and anti-capitalist sentiments that infuse transatlantic environmentalism are Darwall’s overall theme, and it is exactly this threat he demonstrates in the book.

Darwall warns America that the green agenda is an assault on democracy and its fundamental principle of liberty. For them, the climate crisis requires solutions that “normal democracies” aren’t able to provide, and thus should be mandated by a council of intellectuals, experts and activists that acts outside the democratic process. He claims it is a war against the continuing vitality of American capitalism by global elites, many of them Americans contributing huge sums of money to the cause, aided and abetted by a biased media interested in pushing a political narrative. They are all partners in establishing a “cone of silence” by suppressing dissenting research and speech. He warns the Climate-Industrial Complex, an amalgam of American money and European ideas has one ultimate goal in mind — ending American exceptionalism.

Darwall opposes solutions framed within a political ideology, which he believes are counterproductive and unrealistic; pollution and its harmful effects can be better addressed by adopting a practical and economically feasible approach, rather than one based on eco-hysterical predictions. The global nature of the problem should be met by reason and sound scientific inquiry instead of panic, and a careful consideration about policies that will have devastating economic and social consequences.

He believes common sense is vitally necessary. The incessant and hypocritical virtue-signaling and lecturing by many politicians, academics, celebrities and the media cannot make up for the fact that virtually all growth in greenhouse gases comes not from the West, but from China and India, and neither of those countries are being held accountable for their pollution.

Until technology is able to do so, the only way to eliminate carbons from the atmosphere is to use a great deal less; for all humanity, especially those in the West, to become extreme conservationists and modify their consumption habits. But given human nature, that is not going to happen willingly, especially in America. And who in the West has the right to tell billions of the world’s poor that they cannot aspire to the same standard of living and level of energy consumption that we take for granted?

Darwall is provocative, and his book is meant to set the reader to thinking about a movement that he sees as harboring a strong impulse toward the governing modes and the political culture of the totalitarian state and as an attack on the classical liberal ideals conceived at America’s founding. He warns that the green agenda is nothing more than an effort by globalists, Americans and Europeans alike, to subvert capitalism and diminish American sovereignty — the fundamental transformation of America that many seek.

Bob Funk is a retired U.S. Marine and a retired high school principal.

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